Gaggle debut album 'from the mouth of the cave' out now

Gaggle debut album ‘from the mouth of the cave’ out now

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A mass of women on a stage: that’s the first thing you’re supposed to see. That was the idea that Deborah Coughlin had, the idea that started the riotous 21-strong female choir otherwise known as Gaggle.

Formed in late 2008, Deborah has directed Gaggle according to that vision, composing the music, alongside her writing-partner Simon Dempsey. And now, Gaggle are ready to unleash their debut album. ‘From the Mouth of the Cave’ will be released on June 25th through Transgressive Records.

It has been an exhilarating 3 years since Gaggle’s incarnation, from playing their first gig at Club NME, Koko, to being named as one of NME’s Top 50 Innovators, opening French festival Trans Musicales, winning Best New Band at Camden Crawl and recording a Maida Vale session, all before actually releasing any music.

Imagine the Spice Girls and Marina Abramovic on Motley Crue’s tour bus and you’ll have a vague sense of the spirits that saw the girls banned from Reading Festival, albeit only for 45 minutes. Britain’s Got Talent even wanted to get in on the act, but this missed the point. Gaggle aren’t a novelty act. They mean business.

Perhaps that informed what happened next, Deborah undertook a reworking of the 1969 opera ‘The Brilliant and The Dark’ – originally performed by 1000 women at The Royal Albert Hall – and took it around Europe, returning to play the Royal Festival Hall (RFH), the ICA and, eventually, bringing it home to the Royal Albert Hall once more in 2011. It was this project that transformed perceptions of Gaggle from novelty to cultural force, leading to a performance on Jools Holland with My Morning Jacket, a commission for International Women’s Day 2012 that saw Deborah make a piece to lead 1,000 women along the Thames and now, a feature documentary is also in the works.

Though she’s always been aware of the sheer power of Gaggle as an idea, Deborah has always striven for more. “I’d always known where it would go – I knew it was a project that could cross boundaries and play in vastly different spaces,” Deborah says.

‘From the Mouth of the Cave’ confirms this statement, flitting between genres; the album is a thrilling and unique debut, sometimes sonorous and other times abrasive; but always at the centre that fascinating instrument of the choir, pushing themselves to their collective and individual limits as Deborah plays them.

Above clangourous ambient noise and organ chords, the album opens with siren voices inviting us to “Come with me”, on the journey Deborah and the girls have taken together. The album tells us their stories: about trying to be powerful in a group (on forthcoming single out May 21st ‘Army of Birds’), about being alienated (‘Lullaby’), about economics (‘The Power of Money’), about leaving things that aren’t good for you (‘From the Mouth of the Cave’).

The record is ultimately, “about being honest about things from a female perspective – because they happen to be written by a woman and sung by women.” Gaggle is not an act of positive discrimination nor simply a feminist collective. It’s not even a cohesive unit – except in that moment of performance, where it’s an army in uniform.

What Gaggle is however, is something different, something exciting and completely now.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.